First Round of World Cup Action

By on June 18, 2014
FifaMain

The first matches of the group stage of the 2014 World Cup has come and gone and it has been status quo for favourites winning most of the games. There have not been many ties in this World Cup and the heat hasn’t seemed to slow teams down scoring at a torrent pace. There have been upsets as well as shocking results that no one saw coming and they will be highlighted in a first round recap.

Group A kicked off the opening day of the World Cup seeing hosts Brazil take on Croatia. In a shocker Croatia opened the scoring over the hosts Brazil, only to have the lead slip away with two goals by Neymar Jr.; he tied the game and gave Brazil the lead, after a controversial penalty call. The Brazilians would add another goal to win 3-1. In the second game of the group Mexico took on Cameroon. Mexico had two goals disallowed by questionable offside calls by the referees but, were still able to overcome that and win with a 1-0 result.

In group B there was a clash of two titans when 2010 runners up, Netherlands took on defending champions Spain. The Spanish came out early scoring on a penalty shot but that was all that they could do, as the Dutch took control and scored 5 unanswered goals for a 5-1 victory. The tying goal by Robin Van Persie may have been the goal of the tournament on the second day.  In the second game of the group Chile took on the Australian Socceroos. In a one sided contest, the favourites Chile, led by Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez defeated underdogs Australia by a 3-1 score line.

Group C action started on the third day of the tournament with Colombia shutting out Greece 3-0. A Greek team that had only conceded four goals for their entire qualifying run was shocked when in less than 10 minutes they gave up a goal to Colombia. Greece could not do much as Colombia made easy work of them. In the second game the Ivory Coast took on Japan. Japan started the scoring taking a 1-0 lead, with a goal from star Honda. Ivory Coast unleashed their super sub, superstar Didier Drogba and that all changed. His spark off the bench led to two goals for his country finishing with a 2-1 victory.

Group D kicked off on the same day as group C, and was host of the first major upset of the tournament. Favourites Uruguay were defeated by dark horse Costa Rica. In what may be the second group of death Costa Rica shocked the world defeating Uruguay 3-1 after being down early 1-0. The second match featured two superpowers, Italy and England. The Italian team showed their skill with their masterful passing against a relatively inexperienced English side, winning 2-1. Although England looked faster they were no match for Italy’s experience and calmness.

Group E began with a game between the Swiss and Ecuadorians. Switzerland and Ecuador looked destined for a 1-1 draw the entire game being evenly matched; but in the 93rd minute the Swiss counter-attacked and scored the winning goal before the death, winning 2-1. The second match had group favourites France vs. underdogs Honduras. The French won the game 3-0 on the back of two goals from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. The Honduran’s looked discouraged after they were booked with a red card just before half and had to play the rest of match shorthanded.

Group F started off action with another world cup favourite Argentina, taking on new comers Bosnia- Herzegovina. The game on paper looked to have a landslide victory for Argentina; though once it started they struggled. An own goal from the Bosnians gave Argentina a 1-0 before superstar Lionel Messi scored to double the lead. Bosnia scored in the 84th minute but it was too late to do anything else losing 2-1. The second matchup was between Iran and Nigeria. This game was the first in the tournament to end in a draw, finishing 0-0.

Group G dubbed the group of death did not disappoint in entertainment. Portugal and Germany started off the action, on paper as a potentially close game. When the game started it was much different as Germany dominated from the outset winning the game and embarrassing the Portuguese 4-0. Thomas Muller scored the first hat trick of the tournament for the Germans. The night game was U.S.A. vs. Ghana. Ghana had eliminated the Americans in the last two World Cups but the Americans  were able to get their revenge. Clint Dempsey for the Americans scored the fasted World Cup goal ever less than a minute in, and led the States to a 2-1 victory.

Group H looked to be an easy group to call picking Belgium and Russia to advance but, may be tougher than anticipated. Belgium came out flat in their first group game against Algeria going down 1-0. In the second half Belgium were able to turn their luck around and defeat Algeria 2-1. Russia and Korea were the second matchup and last one of the first set of group stage games. In a weird game they settled for the second draw of the tournament, ending 1-1. Korea scored on a fluky shot with a ball sliding through the Russian goalies hands, but Russia was able to come back less than 10 minutes later to tie the game and finish with a draw.

If the first round of matchups is any indication of what is to come in the rest of the World Cup, this will be a very exciting and high scoring tournament.

 

About Patrick O'Neill

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